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Arbitrators Can Grant Class Action Status If Not Precluded by Terms of Arbitration Agreement
Susan Artinian of Dykema Gosset (Detroit) notes that the Supreme Court issued an important decision on Monday in Green Tree Financial v. Bazzle: The Court held that arbitrators (but not courts) have the right to decide whether to give class action treatment to arbitrations. Thus, arbitrators could grant class action status to arbitrations if the arbitration clauses are silent or ambiguous as to class treatment. In that arbitration decisions are rarely appealable, attorneys drafting arbitration clauses involving multiple parties should include language providing that arbitration may only proceed on an individual basis, and cannot be consolidated with other arbitrations or accorded class-action status.